I love Luke’s gospel as Luke, being a medical doctor, writes with clarity and precision with a keen eye for detail. His meticulous writing only enhances our understanding of this gospel. Luke’s gospel also emphasizes Jesus’ humanity and His heart for people. In Luke chapter 5, we see Jesus initiating relationship with people as he calls some of His first disciples to come and follow Him. Jesus’ invitation is simple. No frills. No persuasive speeches. No convincing arguments. Jesus just says, “Follow me.” And Simon along with James and John leave everything they have to follow Jesus.
We can learn a lot from the disciples’ simple but bold decision to follow Jesus. They didn’t stop to consider the pros and cons of following Jesus. They didn’t take time to think about it or pray about it. Sometimes, those things aren’t necessary. Especially when you meet the Lord face to face. They knew that He was worth following. And worth trusting. They didn’t need anyone else’s opinion when met by the very face of the Lord Jesus… whispering their names to come and join Him in His mission on the earth. The very image of God awaiting their response. What honor and privilege. What an invitation.
How do we respond when Jesus asks us to follow Him? Do we recognize His offer as an honor and privilege? Do we abandon all we have to seek Him? Or do we continue on in dry religion doing things our own way, lifeless and without zeal? Jesus is the only One who can revitalize the emptiness of our lives and fill it with overflowing abundance. The disciples in this passage witnessed this first hand as Jesus filled Simon’s boat with an abundance of fish that he wasn’t able to catch by himself earlier in the day. Jesus was necessary for Simon’s flourishing. Jesus provided the fish. Jesus provided the abundance. Only Jesus can take the emptiness of our lives and fill it. We must decide how we will respond to Him.
Going through this passage again, I noticed a detail included by Luke that gives more depth to Jesus’ encounter with Simon. Verse 2 of chapter 5 says that “Jesus saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them (emphasis mine).” Then in verse 3, it says that Jesus got into one of the boats. At first, I just assumed that Simon’s boat was the only one He saw and consequently the one He went to. But the passage says that Jesus saw two boats and chose one. It doesn’t tell us why Jesus chose the boat he chose or what the significance was. But for some reason, Simon’s boat was chosen by Jesus. Perhaps Jesus knew that Simon had not caught any fish that day and He wanted to bless him after He preached. Perhaps He knew about Simon and wanted to pursue Him. Perhaps He had other reasons. The reasoning can be left up to speculation but the point is that Jesus pursued Simon when Simon didn’t pursue Jesus. Jesus chose to initiate a relationship with Simon.
It reveals Jesus’ purposeful pursuit of people. Jesus pursues people individually and intentionally wherever they’re at in a way that relates to their current needs, ultimately exposing them of their soul’s need of a Savior.
Simon never expected for the Lord, who was Jesus, to show up caring about his fishing haul. Simon probably thought…why would someone holy and in the middle of preaching the good news even care about my lowly fishing duty?
But Jesus did care. And He cares about the areas of your life that you think are too mundane for Him to be bothered by.
Jesus Christ wants to enter in to the mundane. He wants to fill the places in your heart that you can’t fill yourself. He wants to blow your mind with care and concern for you. Won’t you let Him in today? Won’t you let Him be Jesus… and love you like no one else can? For He is always pursuing your heart and drawing you near to Him in ways that are unique to who you are. Trust in who He is. Let Him be the Savior that your soul longs for…overflowing your heart with freedom and peace in the God who desires to rescue His people.
Summary of Luke 5
As Jesus is standing by the Sea of Galilee, a crowd is pressing into Him as they wait for Him to start preaching the Word of God; Jesus sees two empty boats while the fishermen are washing their nets; Jesus decides to get into one of the boats ,which belongs to Simon; Jesus asks Simon to put out the boat from the land so that He can preach to the crowd from the boat in order for all the people to hear fully – the Sea of Galilee is like a bowl, so Jesus’ voice from a boat in the water would echo more than on land and project His voice farther; after He spoke to the crowd, He asked Simon to take the boat far out into the water so that they could catch fish; Simon is hesitant at first to do so since he did not catch fish at all earlier in the day, but relents because of Jesus’ word to do so; they let down the nets into the water just as a swarm of fish come near the nets; they catch so much fist that the nets start to break; they ask some men in boats near them to come and help them haul the fish, and the other boats are filled with fish as well, almost to the point of sinking; Simon Peter all the sudden feels unworthy in Jesus’ presence and asks Him to depart from him because he is a sinful man; the men in the other boats that helped them are named: James and John, sons of Zebedee; Jesus consoles Simon, telling him not to be afraid because He wants him to start fishing for men; they all bring their boats ashore and leave everything behind to follow Jesus; Jesus goes to one of the cities and heals a leper who cries out to Him for healing; Jesus instructs the man not to tell anyone that it was Him who healed him; greater crowds started to come near Jesus to hear His teaching and to receive healing; Jesus would withdraw to desolate places to pray; one day Jesus is teaching in a man’s house where many Pharisees and Scribes from all over Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem had come to hear his teaching, so that they might critique Him; a group of men bring their friend to Jesus by cutting a hole in the roof and dropping him down into the house for Jesus to heal; Jesus forgives the man of his sins and heals him because of the faith that they displayed; the Pharisees and scribes are indignant that Jesus forgave him his sins and try to accuse Him of blasphemy; Jesus tells them that he has authority to forgive sins; the man walks home giving glory to God; all who saw what had happened were amazed; Jesus sees Levi, a tax collector, at his tax collecting booth and asks him to follow Him; Levi gets up and leaves everything behind to follow Jesus; Levi invites Jesus over to his house and cooks Him a great feast along with other tax collectors and sinners as well; the Pharisees and scribes grumbled at Jesus for eating with them; Jesus tells them that healthy people have no need of a doctor, but the sick do and that he has come to call sinners to repentance, not those who think they are righteous; they ask him why His disciples don’t fast and pray like the disciples of John, but Jesus tells them that this is because Jesus, the bridegroom, is with them right now so they have no need for fasting until he leaves.
Jesus in Luke 5
Jesus draws crowds (v. 1)
Jesus is known as the one who proclaims the Word of God (v. 1)
Jesus is aware of his surroundings (.v 2)
Jesus is observant (v. 2)
Jesus sees fishermen washing their nets (v. 2)
Jesus sees two boats (v. 2)
Jesus chooses who He will pursue (v. 3)
Jesus climbs into one of the boats: Simon’s boat (v. 3)
Jesus is bold (v. 3)
Jesus asks the man to let him out into the water in the boat (v. 3)
Jesus preaches from the boat (v. 3)
Jesus is innovative (v. 3)
Jesus is creative (v. 3)
Jesus never stops pursuing people (v. 4)
Jesus decides to meet a need (v. 4)
Jesus takes time to help Simon (v. 4)
Jesus tells Simon to let out the boat to catch fish (v. 4)
Jesus’ insistence and concern compels Simon to try again (v. 5)
Jesus cultivates tenacity in people (v. 5)
Jesus directs them towards an abundance of fish (v. 6)
Jesus provides what Simon could not find himself (v. 6)
Jesus exceeds Simon’s expectations (v. 6)
Jesus’ miracle blesses Simon’s friends (v. 7)
Jesus is recognized as Lord by Simon (v. 8)
Jesus’ work causes Simon to feel unworthy (v. 8)
Jesus astonishes all who saw the catch of fish that was brought in (v. 9)
Jesus immediately calms them (v. 10)
Jesus says don’t be afraid (v. 10)
Jesus calls them to pursue men just as they had pursued fish (v. 10)
Jesus inspires them to leave everything behind (v. 11)
Jesus inspires them to follow Him (v. 11)
Jesus is recognized as Lord by a leper (v. 12)
Jesus’ presence causes the leper to cry out to Him for healing (v. 12)
Jesus responds (v. 13)
Jesus stretches out his hand to heal the man (v. 13)
Jesus is always willing to heal (v. 13)
Jesus reveals compassion (v. 13)
Jesus instructs the man to tell no one (v. 14)
Jesus’ acclaim began to spread more (v. 15)
Jesus drew greater crowds (v. 15)
Jesus drew more people to be healed (v. 15)
Jesus would withdraw to be alone (v. 16)
Jesus would leave the crowds to go pray (v. 16)
Jesus drew even the Pharisees and teachers of the law to hear him from all over Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem (v. 17)
Jesus drew those wishing to critique Him (v. 17)
Jesus has power to heal (v. 17)
Jesus is the purpose of a bold display of faith (v. 18)
Jesus witnesses a bold display of faith (v. 19)
Jesus sees their faith (v. 20)
Jesus immediately forgives the paralytic’s sins (v. 20)
Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees and scribes for forgiving sins (v. 21)
Jesus sees through their thoughts (v. 22)
Jesus confronts the Pharisees (v. 22-23)
Jesus is the Son of Man (v. 24)
Jesus has authority to forgive sins (v. 24)
Jesus’ power enables the paralytic to stand up and go home (v. 25)
Jesus’ healing is made evident as the man arises, goes home and gives glory to God (v. 25)
Jesus amazes them all (v. 26)
Jesus causes them all to give glory to God (v. 26)
Jesus sees Levi, a tax collector as he leaves (v. 27)
Jesus calls Levi to follow Him (v. 27)
Jesus causes Levi to leave everything and follow Him (v. 28)
Jesus partakes of a big feast made by Levi (v. 29)
Jesus eats with sinner and tax collectors (v. 29)
Jesus surrounds himself with those who need Him (v. 29)
Jesus is grumbled at by the Pharisees and scribes (v. 30)
Jesus responds to the Pharisees logically and straightforward (v. 31-32)
Jesus desires to call sinners to repentance (v. 32)
Jesus does not call those who already think they are righteous on their own (v. 32)
Jesus is challenged by his critics regarding fasting (v. 33)
Jesus calls attention to the purpose of fasting (. 34)
Jesus utilizes analogy to point out that there is no need for fasting since He, as God, is with His disciples now in the flesh (v. 34-35)
Jesus tells a parable to show why one cannot mix the old with the new (v. 36-37)
Jesus is never outwitted (v. 34-39)
Jesus has a purpose for everything that He does and doesn’t do (v. 34-39)
Jesus has the last word (v. 39)
“I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” -Luke 5:32-
Questions for Today:
- Why is Jesus’ calling and pursuit of Simon significant?
- Do I recognize that Jesus pursues my heart?
- Do I consider it an honor to be invited by Jesus to follow Him?
- What does it look like for me to abandon all to follow Jesus?
- What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?
“Narrow Road” by Hillsong Worship